Good morning New Zealand. Waking up in another country is always strange. No matter how often I’ve been away from home or how long I’ve longed for this journey really comprehending that I’m on the road again only comes when I’m in the plane and wake-up the next morning in the country I’ve been longing to go to for such a long time. Up until then it’s just a beautiful daydream.
This time it’s the same and has mainly to do with to long period between my idea to hit to road again and finally hitting it. The idea came to me fourteen months ago. In Spain, which probably wasn’t a coincidence. Mickey and I were sitting on a little terrace on a small square in Zarrautz; far away from all the tourists. We just sat there, with a glass of cold, red wine and some tapas. Looking at all the kids that were playing in the square, while their parents were watching with a glass of wine as well. It was one of those moments that I wondered why I live in such a stressed out society as the Netherlands, where everybody runs around like crazy and locks themselves up in their home in the evening. Wasting their lives away with watching television. If people in Spain, Italy, Australia, South-Africa and Central America can lead a relax life, why should we in Western Europe run around like crazy?
The whistle of birds
Fourteen months after having these thoughts I’m lying in my bed in New Zealand. Crickets chirping me to sleep in the evening, the whistle of birds wake me up next morning. Early next morning, thanks to our little jet-lag.
But we don’t care about that now. Orewa’s beach is awaiting. And the good thing is: early mornings have beautiful light in contrast to mid-day when the sun bleaches out the colors of the trees, flowers and houses.
Armed with our camera we walk into Orewa and discover that it’s a combination of a trailer camp, high class suburb and a retirement home. The picturesque place was the birth ground of Sir Edmund Hillary; the first human being to set foot on the top of the Mount Everest. A statue in the middle of town keeps the legendary mountaineer alive. Nowadays it’s one big holiday resort and at the same time a nice escape for the retired Kiwis, who walk up and down the streets with their white legs underneath their white pants or running up and down the beach to keep their.
Reason enough for real estate agencies to place a board on every street corner with their smiling head on it, guided by a bunch of houses that are for sales: especially for the elderly.
Where the beach is filled with running, grey, old people, the water is the domain of the surfers. A big breeze continuously blows on Orewa’s shore, making it a popular spot for wind and kite surfers. We watch and admire them and decide that – whatever happens – we want to be on a kite-board somewhere this trip. We know how to ride a wake-board, we know how to kite, how hard can kite-boarding be?
What is hard, is deciding where to go next. Fall will take over from summer within a month and a halve. If we want to see the Southern Island in all his beauty, we should head over there now. But the North part of the Northern Island – with all the beautiful bays and dive options – is calling our name as well. We stare out are map. Again and again. Then we decide to put it aside and to open up a bottle of rose. The answer will present itself somehow….
I wrote this story in 2008; now I'm finally taking the time to translate it into English.